Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Female Swingers -- John McCain Needs Them

I am not referring to the sexual sort of swinger, but rather swing voters. Namely those that supported Senator Clinton's bid for the nomination. As Kirsten Powers points out today he female supporters feel slighted in ways that could seriously hurt Senator Obama's chances:

WHAT do women want? That may end up the overriding question for the rest of this campaign.

Polls show around 30 percent of
Hillary Clinton's voters saying they'll vote for John McCain. Most will come around - but if only 5 percent of her 18 million voters stray to the GOP side, that could be enough to swing the election.

The McCain camp is on it. It believes it can siphon off older female voters, who are skeptical over Obama's lack of experience. McCain clearly heard Clinton's battle cry after the final primary, when she said she wanted her voters to be respected. His surrogate, Carly Fiorina, even told reporters she believed Clinton suffered sexist treatment during the campaign - music to these Clinton supporters' ears.

McCain started courting Clinton's voters in the days between that last primary and her concession speech. He said the media had mistreated Clinton and talked of how much he respects her, noting she was often underappreciated.

Now he's planning a campaign tour to reach out to her voters, as well as to independent female voters. His campaign has dedicated part of its Web site to them, and is mobilizing high-profile female surrogates to flood states where Clinton won.

The McCain camp no doubt knows what the Bush camp knew in 2004: The Democratic Party has a history of taking its base voters for granted. Women are now being treated the way African-Americans normally are: We don't need to do anything to win them over, because where are they going to go?

After 2000, the Republican National Committee began an aggressive outreach effort to try and peel off black support from the Democratic Party and saw success in swing states such as Ohio and Florida, where it targeted its efforts.

John Kerry won the 2004 black vote in Ohio by only 84 percent to President Bush's 16 percent, a 7 point jump in black support there for Bush over 2000, in a state that was key to Bush's victory. In Florida, Bush gained six points over 2000, going from 7 percent to 13 percent of the black vote.

Kerry won the black vote 88-11 nationally. And with Obama heading the ticket this year, no one expects blacks to stray. But the Bush effort demonstrates that Democrats shouldn't take any constituency for granted.

Many Democrats believe all Clinton's supporters will "come home" once they learn about McCain's position on the choice issue. But some doubt it.

Geraldine Ferraro dismissed the idea in a conversation with me last week - noting that these voters had already voted for an anti-abortion rights Republican before: Ronald Reagan. More, she said, these sophisticated voters know that Democrats will keep control of Congress no matter what, blocking any extremist nominees for the Supreme Court.

One of the many Web sites that has cropped up for disgruntled Clinton supporters, "Don't Be a Good Democrat!" has a section called "Is it safe to vote Republican?" This outlines why Hillary supporters needn't fear voting for McCain, including Ferraro's argument. Another group, called "Clinton's for McCain" is making the case for switching their votes.

Working to McCain's advantage is that Clinton supporters will get angry all over again if Obama doesn't choose her as his running mate. (And he most likely won't, by all accounts.) They remember when Clinton was ahead and conventional wisdom said that she'd have no choice but to choose him as her veep, lest African-Americans would feel slighted.

One Obama supporter, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), told The New York Times of Clinton voters: "We need them very, very badly, and we shouldn't be able to be afraid to say that we need them."

She's right: It's time to start wooing the ladies.

This is a classic strategy for Senator McCain to use. He knows there are a lot of disgruntled Clinton supporters out there that know the simple, unvarnished truth. Senator Obama is too inexperienced to be president. He simply cannot be trusted with the nation's most important job. In fact, he has yet to present any evidence to the contrary of that argument. He lacks specifics, or refuses to give them (a la John Kerry in 2004), and while his minions follow the Pied Piper along, these Clinton supporters continue to seethe.

Ms. Powers is correct. Many of them will likely return to the fold. Call it what you will -- be it that they cannot bring themselves to vote for a Republican, or that they cannot vote for a man who, by all accounts, could be seen as too old to be running. But the Democrats will woo many of her supporters back. But imagine the twenty-to-thirty percent she cites. What if they do not come back? Then Senator Obama will not have a chance come November.

The abortion question is a good one, but as Ms. Ferraro points out, they had no qualms of giving a forty-nine state landslide to President Reagan. Nor did they feel he was a threat when they put him in office in 1980, bouncing the incumbent President Carter from office. President Reagan had a vision that appealed to them on more than just one issue, and they were happy to shelve that issue to choose the better candidate. The same could easily ring true for Senator McCain this time around. As for the Congress, we have an optimism for the election that many in the punidtocracy scoff at. That optimistic view? It is not going to be as bad as you think. Calm down already.

And yes, we are more than aware of those on our side of the aisle that are not happy with Senator McCain's outreach overtures to Democrats and independents. Rush Limbaugh is one of them, and pardon me for questioning the king of talk radio, but I think he's overblowing his animosity towards Senator McCain. We are not fond of him either, but the constant haranguing on him about his strategy will not help him keep Senator Obama out of the White House. That is our goal, Mr. Limbaugh. The people will keep "President" McCain in line, and should he choose a solid conservative for his ticket, say Sarah Palin, he would put conservatives minds at ease.

But the strategy is more than sound. It is time-tested. "Divide and conquer." Her supporters already feel slighted at how she was treated, and how they have been treated. The Democrat Party caused this division. Senator McCain has the possibility of reaping its rewards.



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